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Concert was soundtrack of our lives

Comment by students at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds ANL-151025-114649001
Comment by students at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds ANL-151025-114649001

On a Sunday evening, before a long week of important exams, you might think most people would be trying to get some last-minute cramming in, or frantically trying to find that piece of homework they were supposed to do over half-term.

Instead, homes across the nation tuned into the One Love Manchester concert, watching some of the biggest names in the pop business perform and celebrate the city and the people in it.

You’d be hard pressed to find a young person who didn’t watch it; who didn’t tweet along; who didn’t have tears rolling down their face as the singers told us to love and unite, and congregate as the symbolic song ‘One Last Time’ rang out of the speakers. Ariana Grande put on a truly beautiful show.

The Manchester attack was particularly difficult for the young people of Britain. It was an attack at the places we should feel safest – surrounded by people having the best night of their lives.

People our age or younger, at venues we have visited, and dancing to songs we sing along to on the radio. It suddenly was interconnected to our lives in the most significant way, even if we were not directly affected.

The concert on Sunday was a chance to remember those who were killed by a horrific attack on Britain’s deepest values. The show was the soundtrack of our lives. What is more iconic for teenagers than Black Eyed Peas’ ‘Where is the Love’, or even Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’?

But on Sunday night, they took on a new meaning. For us, they are a symbol of our grief, but also of our passion and hope. Perhaps that’s what is so special about music and the resonance it has. Just one look at the 50,000-strong crowd, swaying along to the anthems showed that.

We must remember, for every terrorist, there’s a nation of people ready to dance and celebrate, and turn their backs on this attempt at hatred.

There’s a reason people across the globe couldn’t get through the show without a dry eye. It’s because of what it stood for. It wasn’t just a pop concert, to raise money for those affected, but it was more.

It was a chance to celebrate life, to celebrate resilience. To celebrate the fact that we will never give in, and we will never begin to accept terrorist attacks as normal. We will always be outraged, but more importantly, we will always stand united. We will never allow them to stop us living our lives.

As long as we can get together and enjoy ourselves, we are fighting terrorism in perhaps the greatest way a seemingly powerless citizen can. Because what we do when we go to shows; when we sing along to songs and have the time of our lives, is that we prove to extremists that they cannot take away our spirit.

As much as they try, Britain, and the world, will turn their backs, grab a cup of tea, and turn the music up louder.

-- Lucy Cooper is a student at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds


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